All posts by Debra

LAST MINUTE FOLK AT THE JAYHAWK PRESENTS SKY SMEED CD RELEASE CONCERT SATURDAY APRIL 29TH, 2017 AT 7PM

Lawrence based singer-songwriter Sky Smeed will present a special CD release concert in support of his brand new CD, “Lunker Bass” at the Jayhawk Gallery on Saturday, April 29th, 2017 at 7pm.

Sky Smeed was born and raised outside of Chanute, Kansas, in an old, one-room schoolhouse his parents bought and turned into a home in the early 1970s. Last year, he sold the country home he built by hand and migrated to Lawrence, Kansas, a place that has provided a non-stop supply of creativity, community and culture, and began settling in to an old fixer-upper on the north side of the Kaw River.

“I was spending so much time in Lawrence recording my last album Drive All Night and playing shows in the Kansas City area that I fell in love with being here,” Smeed said. “Maybe someday I’ll move back out to the country, but right now it’s a great thing to be able to walk to the store for groceries.”

Lawrence, too, helped reel in the lyrics and music for “Bumper Sticker”, the crowd favorite from Sky’s new album Lunker Bass (Digital Release: Feb. 1, 2017, Physical Release: March 1).

“You can learn a lot about a person’s taste in music, ideology and humor from the back of their car,” Smeed laughed. “I kept noticing bumper stickers everywhere, so I took note of a bunch of bumper sticker slogans and arranged them into a song in 30 minutes. It makes no sense, but it kind of rhymes!”

Much of the material on Lunker Bass came together quickly and naturally; from Lawrence to London, Smeed has found a groove or sweet spot in his songcraft, yielding the pub-pleasing “Small Town Celebrations”, heartfelt ballads like “Starting All Over Again” and “Hard Man to Love”, and the title cut’s vivid narrative. “’Lunker Bass’ is as true as any fishing story should be,” Smeed laughs, recalling going fishing in his youth with his dad, who told him “one of these days we’ll catch that lunker bass.” Lo and behold, his dad snagged that bass on the last cast of the day, but always gave his son credit for landing the legendary fish.

Smeed hopped across the pond for two tours in 2016 with U.K-based folk songwriter Beans on Toast, who knew right away European audiences would go head-over-heels for Sky’s country tinged tunes of working hard, dogs, love, money, beer, coffee, and the call of the road. The first tour, dubbed the Small Town Celebrations Tour, inspired the song of the same name. The following tour, A Spanner in the Works, again paired Smeed with Beans on Toast for raucous routings through major markets including London and Manchester.

“I’ve seen Sky Smeed win over audiences all over the U.K. It’s impossible not to fall for his charm, his smile and his wonderful songs,” Beans said.

To date, Smeed has self-released five full-length albums: Flying High (2002), The Front Steps (2004), Mill River (2006), Sky Smeed (2012) and Drive All Night (2015). His sixth album, Lunker Bass (2017), was recorded and produced at The Ninth Ward Pickin’ Parlor in Lawrence by none other than award-winning folk duo Truckstop Honeymoon (Mike & Katie West). Lunker Bass saw digital distribution on Feb. 1 and physical distribution on March 1.

Here are two selections from the new CD:

 

LAST MINUTE FOLK PRESENTS TRUCKSTOP HONEYMOON IN CONCERT ON SATURDAY APRIL 8TH AT 7PM; PASTENSE WILL OPEN THE SHOW

With great excitement, Last Minute Folk at the Jayhawk welcomes Truckstop Honeymoon back to the LMF stage for their 4th appearance and first on the Jayhawk Gallery Stage. Topeka’s own Pastense bluegrass band will open the show.

   

“Bluegrass, punk-rock and a palpable dose of soul”            The Pitch, Kansas City MO

Hollering with all their hearts over a five string banjo and a doghouse bass, Truckstop Honeymoon live the life they sing about. Touring across three continents with four kids and a truck load of songs, Katie and Mike West tell stories about the strangeness of everyday life. Their music combines elements of bluegrass, music hall jazz and straight up rock’n’roll. Vaudevillian wit and showmanship spike their energetic live shows, while the fearless honesty of their songs touches the hearts of listeners around the world.

In eleven years Truckstop Honeymoon have released eight CDs and a full length documentary film on Baton Rouge label, Squirrel Records. They perform at International folk festivals, rock clubs, neighborhood bars, house concerts and hay barns from Nebraska to Tasmania.

“Tales of cheating spouses, bad attitudes, short-change romances, endless asphalt and dodgy diners, all told with a “psychobilly” sense of playfulness, ringing banjo and a bass as certain as a highway centerline”  The Herald, Newcastle, Australia.

“They spit on enough conventions to keep things interesting”       The Onion, Madison WI

Truckstop Honeymoon’s story begins in New Orleans, where Katie played wash-tub bass and blues piano in the streets of the French Quarter. There she met Mike, who slung a banjo and sold his CDs to tourists as a curative for hangovers and small mindedness. After a court house wedding, they hit the road together. They spent their wedding night in a truck stop somewhere between Lafayette and the Atchafalaya Swamp. There Truckstop Honeymoon was born.

In 2005 Mike and Katie’s home and recording studio (the 9th Ward Pickin’ Parlor) were washed away by hurricane Katrina. After a few months of living out of their van, they took their young family to the midwest music mecca of Lawrence, Kansas. Here they quickly established a reputation not only as a band, but also as producers of other recording artists. They rebuilt their studio, while continuing to tour Australia, Europe and the US. They even founded the first (and only) annual Mardi Gras parade in Kansas.

The music of Truckstop Honeymoon tells a story that is sometimes ferociously funny, sometimes bitterly sad, but always affecting and believable.

“Charming, incisive and funny”   Sing Out Magazine, USA

“It’s gritty, grisly and guttural, and makes for damn fine music” Where Y’at Magazine, New Orleans LA

“Truckstop Honeymoon got the chops”  The Stranger, Seattle WA

 

 

Pastense Bluegrass Band

PASTENSE (http://pastense.org)

Pastense is a five piece bluegrass and old time music group from Topeka, Kansas. Members include Jolleen Thorpe playing guitar and singing lead and harmony vocals; Joe McElroy on mandolin and guitar, Steve LaForge on banjo, and Don Anderson on the upright bass.

Pastense plays a variety of new and old bluegrass and gospel music plus some old time country favorites. Many of their songs were adapted from albums by Alison Krauss, Rhonda Vincent, Lonesome River Band and many more. The group also performs some original material written by Jolleen and others in the group.